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BRATTLEBORO — Art in the Neighborhood, an organization that provides tuition-free art classes to children in low-income housing communities in Brattleboro, has been operating since the onset of the pandemic with the assistance of a COVID relief grant from the Vermont Arts Council.

Early on in the pandemic, federal funding from the CARES Act came to the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities to provide rapid-response funding to arts and humanities organizations whose operations faced financial hardship, loss of venue or other significant impacts.

Impacts to Art in the Neighborhood meant that we had to close down our usual, once a week in-person classes. As an alternative, we adapted programming to an art supply delivery model. Every other week, each student now receives a packet of art supplies and suggested projects to work on at home.

The financial impact of purchasing many supplies, along with the need for more teacher planning time and staff meetings has been offset by this generous grant.

In all, these Cultural Relief Grants have provided more than $770,000 in relief funds to 123 arts and cultural organizations in all 14 Vermont counties. Art in the Neighborhood is honored to be the recipient of one of these, and thankful to the Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts for their support.

State Rep. Mollie S. Burke is executive director of Art in the Neighborhood.

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